Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan ; Hepatobiliary Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan ; Department of Occupational Medicine, Kaohsiung Municipal Ta-Tung Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
The impact of virological factors and interleukin-28B (IL-28B) genetic variants on retreatment of hepatitis C virus genotype 2 (HCV-2) treatment-experienced patients remains unknown.
On-treatment virological responses and IL-28B rs8099917 genotype were determined in 46 HCV-2 treatment-experienced patients (42 previous relapsers; four previous non-responders) retreated with 24-week peginterferon/ribavirin.
Forty (87.0%) patients carried the rs8099917 TT genotype and 6 patients (13.0%) carried the TG/GG genotype. The sustained virological response (SVR; seronegativity of HCV RNA throughout 24 weeks of the post-treatment follow-up period) rate was 71.7%. Compared with previous non-responders, previous relapsers had a significantly higher SVR rate (78.6% vs. 0%, P = 0.004) and a lower relapse rate (17.5% vs. 100%, P = 0.04). All the previous non-responders were with the rs8099917 TT genotype. As for those who relapsed, treatment responses, including the rates of rapid virological response (RVR, 80.6% vs. 66.7%, P = 0.59), early virological response (EVR, 97.2% vs. 83.3%, P = 0.27), end-of-treatment virological response (97.2% vs. 83.3%, P = 0.27) and SVR (80.6% vs. 66.7%, P = 0.59) and relapse rate (17.1% vs. 20.0%, P = 1) did not differ significantly between patients with the rs8099917 TT and those with the non-TT genotype. Multivariate analysis revealed that the most important factor predictive of an SVR in the retreatment of HCV-2 was previous relapse; the only factor predictive of an SVR for previous relapsers was the achievement of an EVR. Compared with the achievement of a RVR, the attainment of an EVR was more accurate in predicting an SVR (88% vs. 74%).
Peginterferon/ribavirin is effective in the retreatment of HCV-2 relapsers, especially among those who achieved an EVR.